Posted by: atowhee | November 23, 2017

LOOKIN’ SHARP

This morning I  laid out a breakfast feast for the garden birds…but, then, nuthin’.  Ingratitude? I wondered. No, caution.  There’s trouble about. Late in the morning the birds showed up to feed.  In mid-afternoon I met the trouble.  In the garden I watched a small hawk circling through the limbs of our Colorado spruce, in pursuit of a junco. It was a Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Small head and beak and delicate feet and blunt tail.SS-GRDN1SS-GRDN2SS-GRDN3SS-GRDN4SS-GRDN5SS-TAILBig dog with  big mushrooms.DOG-ROOMSIMG_2594MUDDY RVRSLUGOSUNSETTThis sunset was the final blush of a day of many acts: rain, blustery winds, sun and a blue sky, rainbow, windrows of fallen leaves.

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Posted by: atowhee | November 21, 2017

KINGLET CROWNS THE DAY

This time of year the little gangs of Golden-crowned Kinglets come down down from their mountain forests and forage here in the warmer valley.  My wife’s hearing is still sharp enough to pick up their constant high-pitched whispers.  She pointed me in the right direction.  For these high-toned voices, I am now limited to only visual clues, little bodies flitting through the trees too quickly to be chickadees, too short-tailed to be Bushtits.  I followed one through nearby brush.

This time of year Wennerberg Park becomes Wenner-bird Park, the leaves are mostly fallen and wintering birds gather in the thickets along the small river which now runs high with rain and silt.  So I kept after this guy and he finally gave me the crowning moment…bowing his boldly marked little pate. GCK AGCK BGCK CGCK DGCK EGCK FGCK GAcorn Woodpecker at a storage limb in McMinnville.AC DRILLSAH HUDDLEBC Chickadee contemplates his next move:BC FEEDSA recent dawn without rain:DAWNSmall portion of our siskinship, feeding on sunflower chips.  Today we had at least 75 at one time in our garden.  These assiduous little seed gobblers crowded our covered patio this morning.GANGGUTTRHouse Finch:HOFI IN TREEJLRVR HIGHSQRL MOUTHWhite-breasted Nuthatch in McMinnville oaks, final shot this morning at Wennerberg in the oaks there.WB IN OAKWB IN OAK2WB IN OAK3WB IN OAK4WB IN OAK5WB-WENN820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Nov 21, 2017. 12 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  2
Downy Woodpecker (Pacific) (Picoides pubescens gairdnerii/turati)  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  X
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  10
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  75
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Wennerberg Park, Carlton, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Nov 21, 2017 11:00 AM.  12 species

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  1     adult bird
Downy Woodpecker (Pacific) (Picoides pubescens gairdnerii/turati)  1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group])  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  5
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  2
White-breasted Nuthatch (Pacific) (Sitta carolinensis aculeata/alexandrae)  2
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)  8
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  3
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  X

Posted by: atowhee | November 19, 2017

TOGETHERNESS–LIKE IT OR NOT

As Britain nears its own self-destructive exit from the European Union, liberal publications are exploring the coming loss and regret.  In a recent “Guardian” several writers were asked to talk about what Europe means to them.  Click here for link.  Be sure to read the final one from Robert Macfarlane.

Macfarlane is a British travel and nature writer.

Posted by: atowhee | November 19, 2017

Yellowstone’s Famous She-Wolf

A book about the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone traces the environmental changes that wrought.  It also profiles the like and online fame of O-6, a female wolf who gained fame o-sixwithout any extra effort of her own.

OREGON’S MOST FAMOUS WILD WOLF

Journey, formerly known as OR-7, is a male gray wolf that traveled to southwest Oregon and even became the first wild wolf in California is more than a century.  He and his mate has successfully raised wolf cubs.  Click here for full background report.

Click here for Oregon Fish and Wildlife’s page on the Rogue Pack led by Journey.  The pack is located in the same Cascades mountains and meadows where I did my Great Gray Owl watching for the book I co-authored in 2015. The area is in Jackson and Klamath Counties.  It includes the Soda Mountain Wilderness and Cascades-Siskiyou National Monument so hated by right-wing resources exploiters who don’t want the federal government protecting land and limiting private profiteering.  I once saw a bumper sticker in southern Oregon that perfectly summarized the anti-public lands fervor, a summary better than any Presidential tweet will ever be:
“Log it, burn it, graze it.”  Now that perfectly captures the right-wing, Old Testament view of nature as a bank for constant, heedless withdrawals.

Posted by: atowhee | November 19, 2017

STILL WAITING FOR THE FIRST FROST OF THE SEASON

While the frost seems afraid to arrive, there are still blooms in gardens: roses, dahlias, Shasta daisies, hydrangea, camellia, hothouse marigolds.  The alder, dogwoods and rhodies are already budding out for next spring.  Mushrooms, of course, are rampant thanks to the reign of rain.

820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Nov 19, 2017.  16 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Pacific) (Picoides pubescens gairdnerii/turati)  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  2
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  15
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Spotted Towhee (oregonus Group) (Pipilo maculatus [oregonus Group])  2
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  4
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  40
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Michelbook & 13th Street, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Nov 19, 2017.  8 species

Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  4
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Pacific) (Sitta carolinensis aculeata/alexandrae)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)  X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Nov 19, 2017.  8 species

Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)  1
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  2
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group])  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  5
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  15
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | November 18, 2017

OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE FROGMOUTH

My friend John Bullock and his wife, Stephanie, have a son living in Australia, so they go there annually to see grandkids and fit in a little birding.  Here is his latest email:

“We’re being included more and more by the local birders who have taken us to some fantastic private properties. We’ve befriended a French Canadian who can’t wait to take us to find the latest special bird. He insisted on finding the Beach Stone Curlew (not at all Curlew-looking), and finally succeeded.

“He now wants to take us “spotlighting” which means “owling”. He’s also determined to help us find a Noisy Pita, and a Riflebird.
“These Frogmouths are nesting in a Paperbark tree in a beachside park near a caravan park, with tons of people and dogs running around under their nest tree. Amazing.”Tawny Frogmouth family 02Tawny Frogmouth Fem 01Tawny Frogmouth Fem 02Tawny Frogmouth Fem 03Tawny Frogmouth Male RR01Tawny Frogmouth Male RR02If you followed along on Noah Strycker’s Global Big Year, you will surely recognize this bird as species #5657.
A little taxonomy is called for.  Frogmouths are in the same order but different family from our nighthawks.  Both are also allied closely to the potoos and oilbirds of tropical America.
Posted by: atowhee | November 18, 2017

LIVING IN FINCHDOM

November 18
On one of the rainiest days this week I spotted a hummer sitting out in the wet in a neighbor’s garden.  I took some blurred pictures in the very low light.  Then, I see it is a female Anna’s Hummingbird though usually it is only males that over-winter here in the Willamette Valley.ANHUFEMANHUFEM2

Tsunami of siskins.  There have been some incoming tides of the streaky little finches—one, two, a half dozen, fifteen, thirty.  Yesterday dozens flowed across our garden.  My wife spotted an airborne flock over the trees around our house.  Some of those siskins broke off and dropped down into our garden while the rest went into a neighbor’s trees. Now there were over sixty siskins—on feeders, on the pavement, inside the hanging ceramic globe, on limbs and walking the fencetop.SI8SKMULTI3SISKFORMSISKFORM2SISKFORM4SISKFORM5During a lull in the rain and wind the dog and I went out onto the patio and sat beneath the roof there.  The siskins ignored us and flew down to begin clearing the sunflower seeds off the cement.  We were ignored, as far as these birds were concerned we were beyond their sis-ken.SISKMULTIThe birds with bright yellow wash on their wings are the adults.SISKMULTI2SISKONESISKTWO

NATURE IS MUSHROOMING
Time of the year here for a fungus fair.MROOM2MROOM3MROOM4MROOM7MROOM8MROOMS6MROOMS7MROOOM1yel-rooms

HEAR THAT SCREAM
A Pileated Woodpecker was trumpeting his presence along the river in Joe Dancer Park this morning.  I believe this species only uses the riparian forest during the winter, after breeding season. At the north end of the park there was a Lincoln’s Sparrow along the wetlands.
Overlooking the rodent-rich fields, a hungry scrutinizer:REDTAILUPP

Yamhill River South rolling brown and muddy and up into the trees along the bank.BRWN RIVRBW ON BLKBewick’s Wren above, at the suet.  Below a Golden-crowned Sparrow, I thought, but whpo;s that blur in the background?  Mr. Bewick, it seems.GC AND WRENSONGSTRSQRLFORMAnd day with even modest visibility will offer numerous chances to watch a V or line of geese flying overhead, usually with vocal accompaniment…not necessarily musical.CAGO LINEDStill some color to be found on the more grasping trees.COLOURYet even the stubborn oaks are losing their leaves.  Can be a galling experience…or perhaps de-galling more accurate.  Degall in French must be DeGaulle, oui?GALLING
820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Nov 17, 2017.  12 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  15
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  15
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  60
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Joe Dancer Park, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Nov 18, 2017 10:20 AM.  9 species

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group])  1
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)  1
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  2
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)  1
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1

 

Posted by: atowhee | November 18, 2017

CLIMATE CHANGING TREES

Urban trees live in heat islands.  That means they grow bigger and faster.  That means  age faster.  That means they die sooner.  Climate changing means life is changing.

Premature death now equates with treemature death it seems.

Posted by: atowhee | November 17, 2017

CLIMATE CHANGE DATA IN TRUMPTOPIA

Some government agencies have dropped or changed their websites pertaining to climate change.  Others have continued to carry updated information.  Here’s a rundown on which agencies have been silenced, and which haven’t.  The Donald, of course, is now the great disrupter and the U.S. in the only nation in the world that is not part of the Paris Accords on trying to limit climate change.

Posted by: atowhee | November 16, 2017

KEYSTONE KEEPS KEY PROMISE

Murphy, of law fame, said it best…if it can go wrong…   And any man-made system is prone to eventual failure from Bear Stearns to oil pipelines, from Enron to opioids.  Well now Keystone Pipeline has kept a key, unspoken, promise–it’s failed, spilling thousands of gallons of oil.

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